Thursday, September 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Allies back PM on terrorism
Tribune News Service

NDA meeting
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee presides over an NDA meeting on developments following the terror strikes in the USA, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Also seen in the picture are Punjab and Haryana Chief Ministers Parkash Singh Badal and Om Prakash Chautala.

NDA meeting
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and Union Coal and Mines Minister Ram Vilas Paswan at an NDA meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI photos

New Delhi, September 26
In an expected show of unity for dismissing speculations about reported wide-ranging differences within the coalition over the Centre’s stand on international terrorism, the allies of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) today came out with “unreserved and wholehearted” support for Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his government in their approach to fight global terrorism.

“The NDA supports unreservedly and wholeheartedly the Prime Minister and the government on the steps taken so far, those being taken now and the ones that will have to be taken in future”, alliance convener George Fernandes said quoting from a unanimous resolution adopted at the two hour-long NDA meeting.

The Prime Minister had convened the meeting to impress upon the allies about the urgent need for cohesion and unity among the alliance members.

Mr Vajpayee informed the meeting that there was a need for “unity at all levels of national life” while pointing out to the support displayed by the American people to the US Government despite political and other differences in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist strike on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The meeting was attended by almost all the NDA allies with leaders from 17 parties, including the BJP, making themselves present at the deliberations.

Union Home Minister L.K. Advani, External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister Jaswant Singh, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan also attended the meeting.

Mr Jaswant Singh briefed the meeting on all aspects of the issue and Mr Advani intervened to inform the members about the international security situation.

Later, Mr Fernandes said that the External Affairs Minister would visit France, Germany and the USA later this week to hold consultations and project India’s stand on the issue.

The minister would also take the opportunity of sensitising the international community about India’s concerns and worries about the problem of global terrorism and its manifestation along with its reach, Mr Fernandes said adding that Mr Jaswant Singh would later pay a visit to China also.

Asked if the growing links between Islamabad and Washington in the current phase came up during the meeting, Mr Fernandes said: “All aspects of the issue were discussed and it is good that the whole world is getting involved in the fight against terrorism”.

If the government had taken up the issue of the Pakistan-backed cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Fernandes said: “The government is concerned about all these things and one can be rest assured”.

Asked about the kind of support that had been sought by the USA, he said the government would consider the US request when such assistance was asked for.

Mr Fernandes said a reference came up about the visit of the Prime Minister’s Principal National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra to Moscow and Washington and his talks there.

Asked as to why was the meeting convened, Mr Fernandes said: “The simple reason is that efforts were being made to suggest in the media that there were wide-ranging differences in approach within the NDA. If there was no such campaign, there would have been no meeting in normal circumstances”.

The resolution was “passed without any fireworks or dissensions as anticipated in the media”, Mr Fernandes said.

Among those who attended the meeting were Union Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan (Lok Janshakti), Mr Murosoli Maran (DMK), Mr Suresh Prabhu (Shiv Sena), Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Parkash Singh Badal (Akali Dal), Mr Om Prakash Chautala (INLD) and Dr Farooq Abdullah (NC), respectively, former BJP President Kushabhau Thakre, Mr Vaiko (MDMK), Mr Ponnuswamy (PMK) and Ms Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress).


PM meets President

New Delhi, September 26
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had an hour-long meeting with President K.R Narayanan at Rashtrapati Bhavan today during which he briefed him about the current international political situation.

This was Mr Vajpayee’s first meeting with the President after the September 11 terrorist strikes in New York and Washington.

They were later joined by the External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh. PTIBack

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